Jimmy Akin has done a great job summarizing the situation and the encyclical to-date. It starts out:
With just days to go before the release of Pope Francis’s highly anticipated encyclical on the environment, a draft copy has suddenly appeared on the Internet.
Here are 12 things to know and share . . .
1) What are the basic facts about this encyclical?
An encyclical is a teaching document issued by the pope. Encyclicals are among the more solemn and thus more authoritative papal documents.
This one is called Laudato Si (Latin, “Be praised”)—a line from the Canticle of the Sun by St. Francis of Assisi.
It is Pope Francis’s second encyclical. His first was Lumen Fidei, which was largely drafted by his predecessor, Benedict XVI. Laudato Si is thus the first encyclical prepared entirely at Pope Francis’s initiative.
It is devoted to ecology and related themes, and it is scheduled to be released on Thursday, June 18th.
2) Who leaked it?
Veteran Italian journalist Sandro Magister leaked it on the web page of his newspaper, L’Espresso.
For reasons explained below, we will not be quoting from the document, though since it is already all over the Internet and has now become part of this story, we will link Magister’s original story, which includes a pdf of the document in Italian.